Curvilinear coordinate systems and periodic coordinates

  • Thread starter mnb96
  • Start date
curvilinear coordinate systems and "periodic" coordinates


we can consider a generic system of curvilinear coordinates in the 2d plane:

[tex]\rho = \rho(x,y)[/tex]
[tex]\tau = \tau(x,y)[/tex]

Sometimes, it can happen that one of the coordinates, say [itex]\tau[/itex], represents an angle, and so it is "periodic". This clearly happens for example, in polar coordinates.

What are the families of curvilinear coordinates systems in 2d, that have one or more coordinates that are angles?

I hope the question is not too vague to be answered.

Ben Niehoff

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Re: curvilinear coordinate systems and "periodic" coordinates

Any coordinate system whose coordinate lines form closed curves is going to have at least one periodic coordinate. The periodic coordinate doesn't have to represent an "angle", necessarily. For example, in elliptical coordinates, one of the coordinates might represent a parameter for traveling around an ellipse.

One example that can have two periodic coordinates is the bipolar system.
Re: curvilinear coordinate systems and "periodic" coordinates

Ok! thanks for your answer Ben.


Science Advisor
Re: curvilinear coordinate systems and "periodic" coordinates

Or spherical coordinates, or coordinates in S^n, or on any subspace that "turns on itself" , or is closed.

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving